5 Questions to Help You Start Product Localization Right

Product localization involves so much more than simply translating from one language into another. Here is what you need to consider before you set out on your localization journey.

If your product has been a resounding success in your local market and you’ve set your sights on growing internationally, you probably already know that product localization is not an option but rather a necessity for businesses who want to survive in a global marketplace.

Before you jump headfirst into any localization and translation tasks, make sure to ask yourself these five critical questions. Once you have the answers, you’ll be well-prepared to start your product localization and increase the chances that your efforts will have a positive ROI.

Which Markets and Languages Should I Localize My Product Into?

When your goal is to conquer the global market, you’re spoiled for choice. It seems tempting to make your product available in as many languages as possible so that you can reach a broader audience. However, keep in mind that product localization requires significant time and resources. You also don’t want to waste your efforts by discovering later that your clientele already prefers a competitor or doesn’t even have the means to purchase your product.

Our advice is to develop a clear market positioning strategy before you jump into time-consuming localization. Thoroughly analyze your target markets and the competition first to find out how your product will fit into the existing business landscape. From there, determine how you can create a unique market position to differentiate yourself.

What Should I Prepare Before Starting Product Localization?

There are two critical but often overlooked steps to take before you can start localization. The first one is the internationalization of your product. It enables localization on a technical level and should be an integral part of your product development process. The goal is to separate the source code from any localizable elements, making it much easier and quicker to adapt your product to a new market.

The second step is to understand all local regulations and legal requirements of your new target market. Consider hiring a local legal specialist who can advise and guide you on topics such as terms of service, privacy, and data protection. Even though this will increase your localization costs upfront, it will save you the legal fees that you’d have to cover for violating local law.

How Will Localization Impact My UX Design?

Your product’s user experience is likely one of the key differentiators that help you stand out among the abundance of choice on the software market. When localizing a product, the goal is to create a user experience that’s a perfect fit for the language and culture of the market. And this involves so much more than translation. Your user interface might need different colors, symbols, and visuals as well as different formats for date, time, and measurements. Be aware that these changes can impact your user experience in ways that you didn’t anticipate.

We have two recommendations for creating good UX design for multiple languages. First, keep your design flexible, so it doesn’t break when you add more character sets, different date and time displays, and currencies. Second, utilize a translation management platform like Phrase so that your UX/UI designers can sync their work effortlessly with translators and developers. This will allow them to optimize the design right away for multiple languages.

Who Will Localize My Product?

The success of your product localization project largely depends on your localization team, but who are the right people to include?

Project or Product Manager

You’ll need a project or product manager to oversee and manage the full localization process. He or she will be the go-to person for all updates and questions.

Translators, Linguists, Editors, and Proofreaders

Translation is a core part of the localization process. If you have the internal capabilities to cover the languages you need, great. Otherwise, you can look for external translators. Here you have the choice between hiring freelancers or a professional language service provider. Also, consider that editing and proofreading of your translations will be necessary, too.

UX and UI Designers

Involve your UX and UI designers to ensure that the design of your product will work for the culture of your target market. They will align with your marketing team to find the right visuals.

Developers and Software Localization Engineers

Your development team will integrate translations and adapted user interfaces into your final product. Depending on the scope of your localization project, you might want to assign the dedicated role of the software localization engineer within your team.

How Will I Manage the Localization Process?

If you’re thinking of managing your localization with spreadsheets and emails, then we have to warn you. A manual process leaves a lot of room for errors, will ultimately require more manpower, and easily frustrates your team. Investing in the right translation management tool from the get-go can really take the headache out of product localization.

With localization software, you can automate your localization workflow and achieve higher translation quality, faster time-to-market, and increased transparency. Overall, your localization project will run much more efficient, and your team will thank you for it.

Choosing the right tool is not an easy task, though. Look out for collaboration features paired with a user-friendly interface allowing your team to work together and communicate in real-time. In addition, the platform should be cloud-based, flexible, and scalable to grow with your requirements. Ideally, it will also integrate with your existing workflows and tools via an API.

Ready to Get Product Localization Started?

Localization can seem like a daunting field to step into. Nevertheless, with the right tools at hand, it doesn’t have to stand in the way of realizing your global growth strategy. Phrase provides you with all the functionalities for hassle-free localization. Try it out right now completely risk-free and see for yourself what a difference it can make.